Ananda White is a 2017 Cecil E. Newman Scholarship recipient. Below is her scholarship-winning essay.
The two most influential people to guide my life and education are my parents Angela and Brian White. It’s a cliché, but it is the truth. In fact, my parents will say they want me to have more opportunities than they had, meaning they’ll sacrifice in order for me to accomplish my goals.
Furthering my education will allow me give back to my parents, who have given me more than I can possibly give them. I am very thankful to have supporting parents in my life who listen and support me, because I know many people are not as lucky. They’ve given me multiple pep talks that would get through an assignment on a late night, but they have also reminded me to take a break from my homework and get something to eat.
Even though at times they might not be able to help me or understand some of the work I do for school, I still appreciate the time they take to pretend to understand the work I have to do in pre-calculus.
Growing up in the inner city public school system wasn’t easy, although rewarding. Attending for both elementary and middle school has shaped me into being the African American woman I am today.
At an early age, my parents sent me to Urban League Academy. There at Urban League Academy I saw excellence and educators that showed me a side of Black people the media doesn’t portray. I’m so grateful to my parents for choosing Urban League Academy during those earlier years of my life; even though, I probably wouldn’t feel the same way back then.
I now have a sense of gratitude for my time at that school, especially when my other Black friends tell me that they never had a Black teacher or that they’ve always been in the minority group at their school.
In sixth grade, I went to W.I.S.E Charter School where the entire school celebrated Kwanzaa. This is where I first learned about Historical Black Colleges and Universities. I wish more students of color could experience what it’s like to be surrounded by educators and peers that are of the same race as them. My parents have always supported other Black people which has strengthened my confidence. If it wasn’t for that experience I probably wouldn’t have the confidence to go to college.
Additionally, many people in my family haven’t gone to college. But, my parents have never made me feel as though that I wouldn’t be able to. My entire life they made me feel important and that I had the potential to go further in life than just a high school diploma. My dad, Brian, only got a high school diploma and has had a job ever since. My mom, Angela, tried to do some college but was never able to get very far between work and home.
Again, I’m grateful because they’ve given me the opportunity to do something. The support my parents gave me throughout my 18 years have been tremendous, including helping me on assignments, driving me to activities and events, and putting a smile on my face when I’m sad.
My mother has been the person to explain and help me through a difficult problem and my father has been the one to remedy any situation and helped me relaxed when I’m stressed. They have continued to go the extra mile, providing me with the chance to go far in life as long as I stay focus. Without realizing it, my parents have been the consistent keys to my success.
For a recap/photos from the 2017 Graduation Celebration, go here.